Rhode Island is a Medigap anomaly. According to the non-profit organization the American Health Insurance Providers, almost every state boasts Plan F as the most popular. Plan F has more enrollees than runner ups often by double. However, in Rhode Island that isn’t the case. The vast majority of Medicare beneficiaries who opt into Medigap prefer Plan C at 25,434 enrollees. The runner up is Plan F at 6,188. Plan C includes basic benefits, both Medicare Part A and Part B deductible coverage, skilled nursing co-insurance, and foreign travel emergency coverage. To compare plans that are available in your area, fill out the zip code form.
Rhode Island pursued a five-year cap on Medicaid spending in 2009. Being waived from the federal program ensured that healthcare providers in the state had more say and flexibility when it came to the quality and level of care. Medicaid is an arm of Medicare for low-income seniors. The agreement also guaranteed that Rhode Island would get answers about Medicaid-related questions within 45 days.
The state is responsible for any related expenses over the agreed-upon cap. Rhode Island has focused on community-based care, holistic approaches, and wellness over Band-Aid fixes. Ensuring more control is in the state has saved Rhode Island an estimated $100 million since 2009.
Federal analysts recently unveiled great news about the state of Rhode Island seniors’ pocketbooks. The US Department of Health and Human Services cites that seniors in this state alone have saved $16 million on prescription drugs thus far in 2012. The Affordable Care Act is behind the cost-savings and the average Rhode Island senior has saved $534 during the first three quarters of 2012. This has impacted nearly 69,000 Rhode Island Medicare beneficiaries. It’s estimated that, moving forward, the average Medicare beneficiary will save $18,000 by 2020.
As the 2012 election heats up, Rhode Island residents make their interests known. A state-wide poll revealed that residents consider Medicare more important than the national debt. A total of 63.5 percent of those polled would prefer the government to focus on protecting Medicare before tackling the national debt. There are also less people who think the state is moving in the right direction at only 60 percent in October 2012.
Medicare might be a hot topic here, but it’s becoming more challenging for Medicaid beneficiaries to find doctors. Medicaid doctors and hospitals rely on reimbursements from Medicare and many of these doctors take a loss when treating Medicaid patients. Only one in three doctors in Rhode Island are accepting new Medicaid patients. Last year, nearly 75 percent of state doctors were accepting new Medicaid patients.
It’s important to note that Medicaid residents who already have a doctor are safe at the moment. The decline only impacts new patients. However, as more Rhode Island residents reach the 65-year age mark, this becomes more important. Rhode Island has the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates in the nation which is making it nearly impossible for doctors to accept new patients. Rhode Island has a 68.9% Medicaid reimbursement rate which isn’t enough for doctors and hospitals to take a gamble.
When Rhode Island opted to block-grant Medicaid in 2009, the state might have been onto something. It has worked out extremely well both for the state’s caregivers and Medicaid beneficiaries. The idea of giving states blocked grants of Medicaid funding directly is a win-win situation. The state gets more control over the spending and the demands are eased at the federal level. However, some critics say that block-granting will negatively impact the low-income residents. There are also reports that suggest the opposite.
The Medicaid program makes up 30 percent of Rhode Island’s budget. When the state pursued a cap of $12.075 billion through 2013, some critics were wary. The state was able to change rules, point beneficiaries to the best providers for them, and stop residents from abusing the Medicaid system. Some beneficiaries were able to hide wealth in order to wrongly qualify for Medicaid which took away benefits from those truly in need. There are of course naysayers, but overall Rhode Island is considered to have reformed Medicaid at the state level and many experts are suggesting other states pursue the same opportunity. To compare rates and save money on your plan, fill out the zip code form.
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